The Supreme Court will hear a plea for a reference to the constitution bench next month about electoral bonds
During its meeting on Thursday, the Supreme Court agreed to refer petitions challenging the electoral bond scheme to constitutional bench in January.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who requested the reference, was informed by a bench of Justices B R Gavai and Vikram Nath that he will need to appear for a preliminary hearing.
The matter involves “weighty public issues” that require a “authoritative pronouncement,” according to Bhushan.
Since the matter has been pending for a long time, the bench asked, “What is the pressing urgency that it should be heard on the penultimate day before vacation? In response, the court said it would hear the matter next month.
The SC will be on Christmas recess from December 19 and will reopen on January 2.
On March 26, 2021, the SC had dismissed an application seeking a stay on any fresh sale of electoral bonds ahead of the Assembly elections that were due at the time.
There is no iron curtain behind which the operations under the scheme can’t be pierced, as claimed by the apex court regarding the “complete anonymity” of purchasers of the bonds.
In dismissing the court’s request not to allow the sale of the bonds for another six months until the main petition challenging the scheme is decided, the court emphasized that the bonds had already been issued without any impediment in the past and that “certain safeguards” had been ordered.
The scheme was introduced on January 2, 2018, and the bonds are released periodically in January, April, July and October every year. Due to the fact that they were released without impediment in 2018, 2019, and 2020; and because this court has already provided certain safeguards in its interim order dated April 12, 2019, we do not see any justification for granting a stay at this point,” the SC had stated at the time of dismissing the applications.
Earlier this month, the court issued an interim order ordering political parties to submit to the Election Commission details of donations they receive through electoral bonds.